How Manchester City CAS verdict will affect the Premier League
Manchester City will not be any happier than the favorable verdict by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) today. The statement by CAS cleared them of financial wrongdoings against the accusation by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
The judgment by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) on 14th February 2019, has placed Manchester City on a two-year ban from the European Champions League competition and a fine of 30 million euros. This is as a result of what they called contravention of UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
Manchester City immediately released a statement denying any wrongdoing and therefore they decided to appeal the ban. Their appeal was a very huge success. CAS set aside the earlier decision by UEFA and replaced it with a fine of 10 million euros (They are guilty of withholding information from UEFA.)
How will this verdict affect Manchester City?
This verdict by CAS is a tremendous boost to a Manchester City team that is still reeling from the surrender of their premier league title to Liverpool. They failed to match the consistency of the Jurgen Klopp’s winning machine. They were bright but only in patches.
Pep Guardiola suffered one of his worst seasons in terms of defeats, suffering an embarrassing eight losses at this point of the season. The point gap between Liverpool and Manchester City is whooping 21. This tells the story of the unusual inconsistency of Pep’s team this season.
The lift of the ban is a sure morale boost to Man City. This will affect their future positively. The initial ban brought up the issues of the sale of their superstars like Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne. These players will be open to leaving Man City if the appeal was not successful. Kevin, at 29 won’t be willing to risk two seasons without champions league!
Pep Guardiola’s future at Manchester City has been subject to much transfer speculations. The ban would have even made it impossible for Man City board to convince him to stay. He is heavily linked with a return to Barcelona to reunite with Messi.
This would have been a heavy loss to City. They still want Guardiola to stay and rebuild a team that can challenge and reclaim the Premier League title. The Citizens also have their eyes on the European premier trophy which they have struggled to land.
With this verdict, the distractions will go and they will now focus their attention on what is important. Man City can still have a very successful season. They have won the Carabao Cup, and are still in the FA Cup.
They are still huge favorites to claim the Champions League having won Real Madrid 2-1 in the first leg of the round-16 at the Santiago Bernabeu. The second leg will be played at their home stadium, Etihad albeit under a closed door.
How it affects other English teams?
This CAS verdict has blown the chances of Champions League qualification open in the Premier League. Liverpool and Manchester City with 93 and 72 points respectively have secured Champions League football for next season. Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester are all vying for the third and fourth slots in the league.
Chelsea will thank their stars that their 3-0 loss to the plucky Sheffield United side was not punished by Leicester City. Leicester blew up their chances of leapfrogging Chelsea to the third position by losing 4-1 to Bournemouth. Chelsea still stays third with 60 points, followed by Leicester and Manchester United with 59 and 58 points respectively.
Manchester United has a chance to move up to third with a victory over Southampton later today.
With only three rounds of fixtures remaining in the league, it will be an intriguing end for these three sides. Chelsea will have to win their fixtures against the already relegated Norwich side. They also need favorable results in tricky encounters with Liverpool and Wolves.
Leicester City has more difficult fixtures, with matches against Manchester United, Tottenham and Sheffield United yet to come.
With fixtures against Crystal Palace, Leicester City, West Ham, and an outstanding match against Southampton, fifth-placed Manchester United appears like an easy favorite to make it to the top four. They have been in impressive form of late scoring for fun.
The team is revitalized by the January signing, Bruno Fernandes, and return of their midfield maestro, Pogba from injury. The front-three of Martial, Rashford, and teenage sensation Greenwood has been in good goalscoring form.